Farm foods to stay?

Cut price frozen food shop Farm Foods is here to stay in Ripley according to its landlords, who confirmed it had managed to re-negotiate a deal with the firm this week.

Last month staff at the Farm Foods store in Ripley were told the shop was likely close once its tenancy agreement ran out at the end of September.

The eight employees there were told the reason the profitable retailer was pulling out of the town was because the rent on its Oxford Street premises was too high, a staff member revealed to the News.

However the company was not willing to confirm those reports.

Landlords the Midland Co-operative Society later hit back saying it had proposed no such rent increase and it could not speculate why Farm Foods, which posted pre-tax profits of £27 million despite a 1.5 per cent dip in turnover last year, planned to shut in the town.

This week a spokesperson for the Co-op told The News Farm Foods bosses have now reconsidered.

A statement says: “Following a renegotiation and a provisional agreement, we are delighted to have Farm Foods stay on the premises and continue to provide the Ripley community with an ongoing service.”

The spokesperson refused to comment further on whether ‘provisional agreement’ meant discussions over a new lease.

Farm Foods also did not wish to speak on the matter.

At the time of going to press the eight full and part time employees at the Oxford Street store had still not been told the store would stay open.

A staff member told the News: “Well I thought if anything was going to happen, if they were going to shut the shop, they would have surely said something to us by now. In my eyes we are stopping open, but we’ve had nothing official from anyone.”

Shoppers had expressed their anger to the News when it was first revealed the store was set to close.